Vatican News
The position of the boat in distress in the Maltese search and rescue area The position of the boat in distress in the Maltese search and rescue area  (ANSA)

Alarm raised as migrant boat flounders in Mediterranean

Nearly 100-people are in danger as a migrant boat is in distress in the Mediterranean Sea's Maltese search-and-rescue zone. Pope Francis has respeatedly called for renewed legislation to protect refugees and migrants and for solidarity and welcome for those fleeing violence and insecurity.

By Nathan Morley

According to the NGO Alarm Phone, at least 95 people are at serious risk of drowning near Maltese waters, with some reportedly jumping into the sea as their boat filled up with water.

In a report filed on Sunday, Alarm Phone said those on board could not bail out the boat because it was too overcrowded.

It is understood the vessel is currently drifting, but its location is unknown.

Although Malta closed its ports to asylum seekers in April because of the coronavirus pandemic, recent weeks have seen an up-tick in Mediterranean crossings due to the warm weather and calm seas.

 As it stands, migrant detention centres on the tiny island are nearly at full capacity.

Malta has recently teamed up with Turkey to try and stop the flow of migrants leaving North Africa.

Meanwhile, over in Lampedusa, the Italian island in the Mediterranean, more than 250 migrants from Libya have arrived in the past few days.

According to authorities, a wave of more than 1,000 migrants has reached the island from Libya since Thursday.

New figures also show the Turkish Coast Guard saved nearly 1,000 asylum seekers this month in the Aegean.

Listen to the report by Nathan Morley
26 July 2020, 17:10